In Chapter 3, how do the different feminine communities in Measure for Measure suggest similarities between them (Isabella, Mariana, and Mistress Overdone)?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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To be honest, I'm not sure we see enough of the female communities to compare them as collective units…but that quibble aside, we can make some observations of similarities.

First and most simply, whether we're talking about the convent or the house of prostitution, they exist as partial enclaves within regimes of masculine power and legality.

Two related points follow. These communities exist in part to protect women from men—and they are shown to be porous. Men can penetrate them (pun intended) essentially at will. Isabella may be the best example of this, as she is essentially forced out of the convent by male need.

Another related point: because the activities of their minds are rejected and seen as essentially unimportant compared to their bodies, these communities must use deception in some fashion.